Five ways to hit the high seas
Ecoventura cruises depart from the island of San Cristóbal all year round (seven nights from £2,340 per person). The Galápagos can be an expensive destination, so the surest way to reduce the cost is to reduce the number of days spent. A three-night cruise starts at £900 per person with Galapagos Tours.
Flights reach Baltra and San Cristóbal islands in the Galápagos from Guayaquil and Quito in mainland Ecuador. From the UK, fly via New York, Miami, Amsterdam or Madrid (London-Galápagos from £84).
Dodecanese Islands: The one for history
Today, the Dodecanese Islands of Greece are a picture of serenity: whitewashed villages tumble down hillsides to boat-filled harbours surrounded by the clear waters of the Aegean. But their laid-back character belies a turbulent history, when the great empires of the Mediterranean fought over the islands, leaving monumental evidence of their rule in their wake.
Travel in the archipelago has been undertaken in small sailboats since time immemorial. It’s possible to enjoy the tradition today by taking to the seas in a wooden gulet, Turkish in origin, but well suited to navigating the hidden coves of the Greek Islands. An archaeologist from Athens is on board the gulets offered by Peter Sommer Travels, guiding passengers ashore and providing expert insights into the ancient fortifications, temples and streets. On the island of Kos, there are the mighty towers of the Castle of the Knights of St John, the medieval order of holy crusaders who went to Jerusalem but never returned home. Further north is the island of Patmos, where visitors can see the grotto where St John the Divine once lived and where, after a series of apocalyptic visions, he penned the Book of Revelation.
Still, much of the pleasure of the cruise is being aboard the gulet, lounging on deck and breathing in the sea air. Much of the journey is propelled by motor but there are opportunities to travel by wind power. Keen sailors can join in, hoisting sails and helping the boat on its way.
Peter Sommer Travels runs Greek Island cruises from April, and the Northern Dodecanese cruise runs in September, departing from Samos (seven nights from £2,250 per person). For a more economical option, Meander Adventures offers small-boat cruises taking in several Dodecanese and Cycladic Islands, departing from Crete or Rhodes (seven nights from £1,380 with Greece Travel).